Elementary Teachers Strategies
Consider developing or adapting a physics course for elementary teachers that employs an interactive learning curriculum.
- Faculty at Arkansas have developed a course based on the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum from San Diego State University, and have achieved learning gains on the developers’ assessment instrument similar to those posted on other assessments. Faculty at Colorado and Seattle Pacific also teach physics for elementary teachers based on the PET curriculum.
- Faculty at Cal Poly have adopted the Powerful Ideas in Physical Science curriculum and report improved student attitudes and learning gains.
- Towson faculty developed teachers' guides for the schools physical science and Earth-space science courses for elementary education majors.
Emphasize teaching by inquiry in courses for elementary students that include field experiences. Give your pre-service teachers the opportunity to practice and reflect on the style of teaching you want them to adopt. At Towson, the project team places groups of three to six “interns” (student teachers) in a single elementary classroom, where each intern facilitates an inquiry-based science activity for a small number of students. Due to the small group format, almost no classroom management is required, and the interns receive immediate feedback from their peers as well as the classroom teacher. The focus is on developing the craft of teaching and helping the students understand the science lesson.
Hire a Teacher in Residence (TIR) to work with future elementary teachers. The opportunity to learn from a master teacher is just as beneficial for future elementary teachers as it is for future high school teachers.
- The Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions employs a full-time TIR to work with future elementary teachers and help them integrate math and science into their teaching. Beyond preparing future teachers, this TIR has also promoted collaboration and inspired the education faculty to greatly increase their interaction with the physics faculty.
- The Towson Teachers In Residence have, among other activities, provided support for full- and part-time field experience instructors, made class observations, and serving as liaisons between the field experience sites and the Towson faculty. The Towson College of Arts and Sciences has provided funding for a full-time TIR to continue supporting and developing the program.